Perfectly soft on the inside and crispy on the outside, these French fries are baked—not fried—making them healthier, lighter, and easier to prepare.
When I was a kid I used to beg my mom for hamburgers, secretly because I wanted the French fries that always came with them more than anything and knew she wouldn’t approve if I asked just for that. Those were the moments when the tiny me prayed to be an adult already. But as an adult, I’m now more like my mom and less like a 6-year-old (or at least, I hope so), so I aim to prepare my meals at home to be healthy whenever possible. So far I’ve been doing a terrible job at that, by the way, but at least I try.
Baked vs. fried
Obviously the biggest difference here is the use of oil, which certainly does give the fries a delicious flavor, but baking them keeps them light and healthy and is a much easier method. Aside from that, baked fries are less crispy than fried ones, but I’ve included some tips below to help you make yours as crisp as possible.
How to cut the potatoes
The potatoes I use are normal size, so I usually just halve them lengthwise and cut each half into 1/2-inch/1cm strips. Easy!
Tips for perfectly crisp fries:
- Oven temperature is important, and the higher it is, the crispier your fries will be.
- Don’t overcrowd the potatoes; there should be space between them in order to prevent water from forming. If needed, don’t be afraid to use 2 baking trays instead of 1.
- Place peeled and sliced potatoes in a bowl of water for a little while if you have the time. This helps to remove starch, making them drier and ultimately crispier. Let them soak anywhere from 10 minutes to 1-2 hours. Make sure to dry the potatoes well afterwards, otherwise you’re just adding more moisture.
- Personally I like thick fries better, but thin fries are crispier. If you prefer, try cutting your potatoes into ¼-inch sticks.
- Bake your fries on the bottom rack in the lowest position of the oven so that your pan heats up as much as possible.
To peel or not to peel?
I like the look of peeled potatoes in this case, but if you prefer a more rustic look and don’t care that all your fries won’t look identical, there’s no problem with leaving the peels on.
If you want to make it extra special you can sprinkle tiny cubes of butter (about 30g) around the tray, and/or sprinkle 1 cup of shredded cheese like parmesan or Romano on top and bake.
To make the fries flavorful, I like to add a mix of dried herbs, spices, and garlic powder, and add fresh parsley after baking. However, using just oil, salt, and pepper is a great classic way to go, too.
- 900 g/2 pounds baking potatoes
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (or canola/vegetable oil)
- 1/2 tablespoon mix of dried herbs such as oregano , parsley, thyme, garlic powder*, optional
- 2-3 garlic cloves , minced
- 1/4 teaspoon salt , preferable coarse
- 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- 1-2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley leaves , optional
Preheat oven to 450F/230C.
Peel potatoes and cut them into 1/2-inch/1cm matchsticks or wedges. If you prefer a different thickness, that’s fine—you can make them thicker or thinner, but cut them as similarly as possible so that they cook evenly.
Place potatoes in a large bowl and fill with warm water. Let them sit for at least 10 minutes, then drain well and pat with paper towels until completely dry.
Once dry, place potatoes in a large bowl. Add oil, dried herbs, garlic, salt, and pepper, and toss to combine. Arrange on a pan lined with parchment paper, making sure to keep potatoes separate and not overcrowded. Bake on the bottom rack (the lowest position of the oven) for 30-40 minutes, until browned, flipping the potatoes using a spatula or tongs halfway through for even baking.
Toss with fresh parsley and additional salt and pepper if desired.
Dried herbs are optional, but add great flavor. If you omit them, increase the amount of salt to ½ teaspoon and pepper to ¼ teaspoon. If using just one kind of seasoning, use ½ teaspoon of it.